Marcos Jr close to winning landslide in Philippine presidential race

Manila, May 10 (EFE).- Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the former Philippine dictator, is poised to score a landslide in the presidential election, marking the dynasty’s return to Malacañang Palace decades after they fled a mass uprising.

Known as Bongbong in the Philippines, the 64-year-old had secured over 30.5 million votes, more than double pocketed by his closest rival, Leni Robredo, with 14.5 million, as per a partial and unofficial ballot count.

Election officials were counting millions of votes cast in Philippine elections on Monday.

If the tally is confirmed, it will mark the return to power by the Marcos family after the patriarch left in 1986 following a peaceful uprising against the dictator.

“We know that the count is not yet done. I want to issue…a statement of gratitude to all of those who have been with us in this long and sometimes very difficult journey for the last six months,” he said in a Facebook video message.

His running mate for vice president, Sara Duterte Carpio, the daughter of populist outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, was also set for a dominant victory.

She had amassed nearly 31 million votes against nine million by the distant second-placer, Kiko Pangilinan.

Vice-presidential elections are separate from the presidential race.

The family’s return from exile in the 1990s after the dictator died in Hawaii and subsequent rise to power complete the rise-fall-and-rise again cycle for the political dynasty.

A widespread disinformation net spread over social media channels through fake news and personally targeting vile attacks marred the three-month campaign for the presidential race, which ended on Saturday.

Marcos Jr led a controversial online campaign marred by alleged disinformation that tried to rewrite the history of the patriarch’s legacy – accused of looting some $10,000 million from the public treasury and whose regime left at least 3,257 people executed and thousands tortured.

However, many Filipinos today regard the Marcoses as modernizers of the country, patriotic, compassionate, and see those years as the golden age of the Philippines.

The polarizing figure of Bongbong Marcos had relegated economic problems stemming from the pandemic to the background during the campaign. The Philippines suffered one of the longest lockdowns in the world.

The country is battling fast-rising inflation that has made fuel costlier and has resulted in a 10 percent hike in transport prices in the first quarter of the year.

Robredo, the only female candidate who defeated Bongbong Marcos in 2016 in the race for the vice presidency, asked her followers for “patience” and avoided conceding defeat during her speech after election day.

“I know that it is not easy to accept the numbers that are coming out in the quick count. Not only regret, but also clear frustration is what our ranks feel,” she said.

President Duterte is nearing the end of his six-year term. Law does not allow him to run for re-election.

His tenure has deeply polarized the country and left scars from its bloody anti-drug campaign.

The violent drive against drugs has left 6,200 dead, official figures show.

However, human rights groups say security forces killed between 27,000 and 30,000 in the war against drugs, many of them executed in extrajudicial killings. EFE

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